J. Edgar

Rated 3.0

Director Clint Eastwood and writer Dustin Lance Black take a stab at encapsulating the epic career of J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) and—not incidentally—his relationship with his personal protégé Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer). The result has its moments all along the scale, from the near-noble to the downright ridiculous. Hammer’s Tolson never comes into focus; we don’t see what Tolson and Hoover saw in each other on any level. In Hammer’s defense, he’s saddled with one of Black’s silliest scenes—and, in another scene, so is Naomi Watts as Hoover’s devoted assistant Helen Gandy. DiCaprio is strongest in Hoover’s youth, showing his bulldog dedication and obsession with detail. In later life, encased in layers of makeup, he becomes more actorish; the more Hoover ages, the younger DiCaprio looks.